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Here it is: the final entry of my first set of themes:
Title: Sometimes It’s Worth It
“Tell me again why we are waking at such an unnatural hour?” He glared blearily at Pippin, who had bounced into the room to cheerily waken his oldest cousin. He, himself, had wakened at midnight, helped himself to a snack of half an apple pie, left from three Marigold Gamgee had sent up for them for their supper, some bread with as much jam as bread, and some tea well sweetened with honey, and then never gone back to sleep. He had spent the intervening four hours prowling about Bag End, snooping, as he was too wound up to go back to sleep.
“It was *your* idea, Frodo! You wanted to make up the time we lost yesterday, because you and Merry were too whipped to go anywhere.”
“Me and my brilliant ideas,” Frodo groaned. “I suppose it’s too late to change my mind.”
“That’s right,” chirped Pippin, “for we’re to meet Sam in an hour.”
Frodo muttered under his breath, and swung his feet to the floor. “Well, if I have to be up, so does Merry. Have you wakened *him* yet?”
“Just the first time. As soon as you’re up I’ll go check. If it didn’t take, I’ll wake him again.” Merry would usually wake up right away, but sometimes he appeared to be awake, and would then roll over and go back to sleep.
“I’m up! I’m up!” said Frodo crossly.
“I’ll go make first breakfast after I check on Merry. I *think* there’s still some jam left from my snack last night.” He left the room and Frodo rolled his eyes. So *that* was the explanation for all Pippin’s energy, and not just the excitement of their walk to Tookland with Sam, to celebrate his birthday.
They were getting away a day later than they had planned, for their help to Sam in rebuilding the stone wall which a storm had damaged had left all three of them--Pippin included, in spite of his jest--sore and exhausted.
Sam had been grateful, if somewhat taken aback, by their help, and as a thanks, he and his sister had prepared a lavish supper for them the evening before. Sam had also given them massages with some of the Gaffer’s liniment, to ease their sore backs.
He heard a thump, a thud, and a yell from Merry’s room, followed by a slamming door and the sound of footsteps running. Merry must have gone back to sleep, and Pippin had probably taken the expedient of rolling him onto the floor to waken him. He chuckled, and finished getting dressed.
True to his word, Pippin had made breakfast: sausages, eggs, toast--and, yes, jam. There were still a few scrapes left in the bottom of the pot. It had been nearly full the night before. The three cousins were still eating when Sam knocked on the kitchen door.
Sam joined them for a cup of tea, and then they collected their packs, readied the evening before, and Frodo locked the front door to Bag End, before they headed down the path.
“It’s only about fourteen miles going cross-country,” Frodo said, “so we should get there by teatime if we keep a steady pace.”
They walked silently at first, heads down, still a bit tired; the sky was beginning to lighten in the east, though to the west darkness was still there, and the last of the morning stars. But after a while, Pippin said “Look at the sunrise!”
The four of them stopped, and stared to the east. The line of trees was silhouetted in black, casting long shadows on the gentle and newly planted fields. The sky was streaked with vivid pink and orange and lavender, shading into pale violet and blue, and the rays of the sun were just peeking over the trees, as she began her daily journey.
Merry took a deep breath, and Sam said in an awed whisper, “That’s an eye-opener, that is!”
They stood for a while, watching as the Sun came up, and the colors faded into the pale blue of day.
After a moment, Frodo sighed. “That was worth losing sleep over,” he said, as they started walking once more.
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